Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

10 Flying Techniques From Great Aviators

Some of America's best pilots offer advice on how to fly smarter

"If you fly around major airports, especially those with a mix of airline and general aviation traffic," he said, "you're bound to someday stumble into tip vortices off a big jet. If you react instinctively, and pull back on the yoke from inverted, you'll almost certainly split-S into the ground unless you have lots of altitude. If you've been trained to continue the roll and recover to upright, you'll have at least a chance of surviving," Cole explained.

7 Richard Taylor—college professor, author. Of all the pilot/aviators who have written about aviation, Ohio State University assistant professor Richard Taylor may be the most lucid. Taylor's primary qualification was his 24 years as an air force pilot, flying everything from KC-97 tankers to Lockheed T-33 trainers. In total, Taylor logged some 12,000 hours in the sky, and he translated much of that experience to his dozen or so books on all aspects of aviation. He brought years of USAF experience and a readable style to what had been predominately a cold, clinical subject, bringing stark facts to life.

Like many pilots trained in the '60s and '70s, I devoured everything Taylor wrote, and I had the pleasure of interviewing him back in the early '90s. One of Taylor's practical tips related to pilots who make everyone's job more difficult by talking too much.

"Some pilots seem to be in love with the sound of their own voice," Taylor explains, "and that can be a particular problem in busy airspace. It's especially onerous during IFR when a given controller may be working a dozen or more aircraft, and needs everyone to act professionally on the radio by keeping their communications short and concise."

8 Art Scholl—air show pilot. Scholl was so much more than simply an air show pilot that it's hard to describe his career. In addition to his air show appearances in his Super Chipmunks, Scholl was the head of the Department of Aeronautics at San Bernardino Valley College and also a contractor to NASA, flying high-risk missions researching pilot G-limits.

He was also air boss on some 200 motion picture, television and commercial shoots. (Scholl was killed flying his Pitts S2 in 1985 in an inverted flat spin while flying and shooting second-unit footage for the movie Top Gun.)

Scholl was perhaps, first of all, a teacher, and when I used to stop by his facility at Flabob Airport in Riverside, Calif., he'd often be teaching aerobatic ground school to an advanced student or preparing for a flight lesson.

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